Otis McKane will soon learn his fate for killing SAPD Det. Benjamin Marconi

Jurors to decide between death by lethal injection or life in prison without parole

KSAT court reporter Erica Hernandez has the latest from Day 17 of the Otis McKane trial.

SAN ANTONIO – Editor’s note: KSAT is livestreaming the entire trial of Otis McKane here. Get a daily recap like this one sent to your inbox by signing up for the free Open Court newsletter.

Jurors in the Otis McKane capital murder trial are expected to deliberate his fate Friday.

The jury will get the formal charge from 379th District Court Judge Ron Rangel, final arguments will be presented by the state and the defense, and then the panel will deliberate McKane’s fate.

Jurors have only two options to choose from – death by lethal injection or life in prison without parole.

McKane was found guilty of capital murder last week for the execution-style shooting of San Antonio Police Det. Benjamin Marconi in his patrol unit in front of Public Safety Headquarters in November 2016.

The state and defense rested in the punishment phase of the trial Thursday. Before doing so, the defense called on two witnesses.

The first witness was Amy Nguyen, a geographic information systems analyst.

Nguyen showed the jury maps that identified risk factors in a juvenile’s community that could lead to them committing crime. Nguyen analyzed the locations and communities where McKane grew up by using census data and no facts from the case.

Nguyen testified that McKane lived in poverty-stricken areas of Bexar County.

“I also look at African-Americans at or below the poverty level. In Bexar County, the average was 20.83%. However, four of the address that Mr. McKane lived at were higher. North Center, again, was the worst of these locations, at 33.37%, which was 60% higher than the county average.”

Dr. Jaye Crowder testifies at the Otis McKane trial. (KSAT)

Next on the witness stand was Dr. Jaye Douglas Crowder, a psychiatrist who assessed McKane.

Crowder said he spent seven hours with McKane on three different occasions between 2017 and June 2021.

The defense witness at times appeared to get agitated during cross-examination by the prosecution.

During one instance, Crowder told the jury that McKane always denied killing Marconi. Crowder said that he concluded that McKane had moments of psychosis that he believes were caused by the effects of substance abuse. He also said he didn’t believe that McKane would be a future danger.

But in cross-examination, prosecutor Mario Del Prado questioned and challenged Crowder’s assessment.

Del Prado: “This is more than bad acts. This is a threat to kill somebody.”

Crowder: “Yes.”

Del Prado: “It would have been really important for you to know every detail about the incident, don’t you think?”

Crowder: “If you’re wanting to stair step that into he must be a future danger, because he threatened something awful that no one would like, then yeah, I agree that’s upsetting. But that’s not a prediction of future danger.”

Del Prado also challenged Crowder’s preparation for his testimony because he didn’t view the two videos from Public Safety Headquarters the day Marconi was gunned down. Crowder admitted that he didn’t see the videos but said “it wasn’t a very well-thought-out crime.”

Crowder also told jurors that McKane seemed to have psychosis and may have been cannis-induced the day of the shooting. But Del Prado was quick to counter.

“You can know right from wrong and still be psychotic,” Del Prado told Crowder. “Doctor, you have no idea what his psychosis was that day ... or what drugs, if any, he was using?”

The trial resumes at 9 a.m. Friday.

KSAT.com will be livestreaming the closing arguments, the reading of the verdict and victim impact statements.

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About the Authors:

David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with more than 12 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter.